The chairman of the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee predicts U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss will be part of the firewall the party wants to build against Democratic control of the White House and both chambers of Congress.And why is 41 the magic number? Ensign explains:
U.S. Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., set a minimum on the number of seats the party must control, 41.
"With 41 votes in the U.S. Senate, you can (1) block bad legislation, and (2) you can make the majority respect the minority's rights. And you can help craft good legislation," Ensign said. "If the Democrats were able to get to 60 votes - literally even if they get to 57-58 votes because they always seem to pick off a couple or three Republicans on a lot of votes - and if they win the White House ... they will be able to do pretty much whatever they want."From TPM:
So if the Dems can't get to a 60-seat super-majority, the GOP will have won. Talk about lowering the bar.Do you know when the last time the minority party had 41 votes or less?
According to this site from the US Senate, you have to go all the way back to the mid-70s to see numbers this bad. The Republicans in the Senate during the 94th Congress (1975-1977) held only 38 seats. Things didn't change for the 95th Congress (1977-1979) - they still held only 38 seats. Their fortunes improved a bit in the 97th Congress (1979-1981) as they moved up 3 seats to 41.
If the GOP is thinking that their "firewall" is a number not seen since the Watergate backlash, they're in deep doo-doo for sure.